The Recruiting Guy:

LB ponders another pairing with Rhoades

By: Richard Davenport
Published: Sunday, July 5, 2020
Arkansas linebackers coach Rion Rhoades speaks to reporters on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Fayetteville.
Photo by David Gottschalk
Arkansas linebackers coach Rion Rhoades speaks to reporters on Thursday, Feb. 6, 2020, in Fayetteville.

University of Arkansas linebackers coach Rion Rhoades successfully recruited preseason junior-college All-American linebacker Gereme Spraggins once, and he’s hoping for a repeat performance.

Spraggins, 6-2, 240 pounds, signed with Rhoades and Hutchinson Community College in Kansas out of Odenton, Md. He recorded a team-leading 70 tackles along with 11 tackles for loss, 2.5 sacks, 2 recovered fumbles and an interception as a freshman.

Rhoades joined Coach Sam Pittman’s staff in Fayetteville in December after 13 years as the head coach at Hutchinson. Shortly afterward, he offered a scholarship to Spraggins.

“I’m highly interested because Rhoades was my former head coach, and we had the relationship at Hutchinson because he recruited me from high school,” Spraggins said. “Now I have a chance to be coached by him at a Power 5 university and for it to be SEC, so yeah that would be good and fun to play again for Rion Rhoades.

“He’s just a real coach, and he’s a genuine nice man, and I like his cutthroat mentality. He’s smash-mouth football.”

The Razorbacks have two linebacker commitments and likely will add a third with three senior linebackers graduating after this upcoming season. Spraggins is a key target.

Spraggins, who committed to Maryland in January, said his style of play is a fit for the way Rhoades likes the game played.

“Coach Rhoades likes how I play football because he liked to play old-school football,” Spraggins said. “I’m never the fancy type. I try to destroy anybody that gets in my way.”

A preseason first-team JCGridiron.com All-American, Spraggins loves the physicality of the game.

“I tell my linebackers let me pick up the block, just let me hit the blocker and you make the tackle,” Spraggins said. “I love the physical part. I love doing the dirty work.”

Spraggins is looking to make an official visit to Arkansas once the NCAA dead period is lifted.

Though he’s committed to Maryland, Spraggins said attending school away from home isn’t an issue for him.

“I’ll be in Kansas (at Hutchinson) come December (for) 18 months. If I can do 18 months, I can do two years anywhere,” he said.

Spraggins is expected to graduate in December and enroll at his new school in January. Playing in the SEC is an attractive option.

“I came to Hutch with an SEC mindset," Spraggins said. "I wasn’t going nowhere else but SEC. That’s where the best of the best compete at.”

The glamour of the recruiting process is enjoyable, but Spraggins looks past that.

“It’s fun to be wanted, but you also have to treat it like it’s business,” Spraggins said. “You have to take your feelings out of everything. It’s strictly business. I love the sport of football, but I also have to start treating it like a job, too.”

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